Stocks Slide After Trump Threatens Government Shutdown Over Wall Funding, Killing NAFTA

Yesterday, when stocks surged at the market open following Politico's report that Trump is unexpectedly "making strides" on tax reform, we warned that "it can all be wiped away as soon as tonight, when Trump will deliver a speech to his "base", in which he may promptly burn any of the goodwill he created with capital markets following his far more conventional Afghanistan speech last night." That's precisely what happened, because on Tuesday night, in another fiery campaign rally, Trump fiercely defended his response to violence in Charlottesville, made passing remarks from a teleprompter about the need for unity and inclusion before veering off-script to attack the news media, Democrats and even Republicans in the Senate whom he accused of distorting his response and blocking his agenda.

But what spooked markets, and what has sent both US futures and European stocks lower, was Trump's threat to bring the U.S. government to the brink of a shutdown if needed to pressure Congress into funding the border wall that was a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign, stoking renewed fears that the debt ceiling debate will be far more contentious that the market expects.

Delivering a warning to Democratic lawmakers who have objected to his plans to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico frontier, Trump called them “obstructionists” and said that it was time for the U.S. to crack down on illegal immigration. "If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” Trump told thousands of supporters gathered in Phoenix for a campaign-style rally. “One way or the other, we’re going to get that wall.” As Trump spoke, S&P500 futures reversed gains to slip as much as 0.3% as Trump spoke.

As Bloomberg notes, Trump has asked for $1.6 billion to begin construction of the wall, with Congress under pressure to pass some kind of spending bill to keep the government open after Sept. 30. But Republicans in Congress haven’t shown much appetite for fighting to spend potentially billions more on a border barrier either. The funding would add to the deficit at the same time Republicans are trying to figure out how to pay for tax cuts.

Separately, the yen strengthened, while the Mexican peso weakened 0.2 percent as the president also said he might terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement at some point: "Personally, I don't think we can make a deal because we have been so badly taken advantage of. They have made such bad deals, both of the countries, but in particular Mexico, that I don't think we can make a deal. So I think we'll end up probably terminating Nafta at some point. I personally don't think we can make a deal without termination, but we'll see."

“His comments on the NAFTA negotiations once again brings the general direction toward obstructing free trade, and raises concerns over its impact on global trade,” said Hideyuki Ishiguro, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities Co. in Tokyo.

Still, despite the latest Trump bluster, the hope for tax reform wasn't completely killed: during his speech Trump repeated his call for a historic tax cut, promising to pass the "first major tax reform in over 30 years." While he provided no details of any planned legislation, he urged congressional Democrats to support it. Democratic senators in states he won should be particularly wary, Trump said. Most Senate Democrats have said they’ll refuse to support any tax legislation that provides a tax cut to the highest earners. “The Democrats are going to find a way to obstruct,” Trump said. If so, he told his supporters, they’ll be preventing Americans from receiving a “massive tax cut.” Unlike healthcare, tax reform is a less divisive issue among Republicans and could represent Trump's first major legislative victory, if it were to pass, although in light of recent reports of a collapse in relations between Trump and Mitch McConnell, even that now looks improbable.

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Putting it all together, on Wednesday morning S&P futures are down 0.24%, alongside with European shares and oil. The Yen gained versus all G-10 peers as investors sought safer assets afterTrump threatened to bring the U.S. government to the brink of a shutdown if needed to pressure Congress into funding the border wall that was a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign, and threatened to terminate Nafta at some point.

“The Nafta hot air may be as much an excuse to take a step back after Wall Street’s surge yesterday, as it is a legitimate concern about the president not appreciating nuances of inter-dependence embedded in trade deals,” said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank Ltd. in Singapore. “The ‘she loves me, she loves me not’ thought process could lead to on-off markets”

Elsewhere, treasury futures marginally firmer; the Kiwi fell sharply after New Zealand cut growth and budget forecasts; the Korean won climbed for third day. HKEX cancels trading due to Typhoon Hato; The Nikkei rose for first time in six days. In China, the PBOC drained net 40 billion yuan in open market operations although the overnight money market rate spike to two-year high turned out to be inaccurate due to a "faulty print" although iron ore slumps 5.2% after steel rebar sinks.  WTI crude drifts sideways near $47.70;

The euro was the standout gainer in an otherwise listless day in markets, as strong European data boosted confidence in the region’s growth, while a speech by Mario Draghi, seen as a preview to his Jackson Hole address, did not unveil any new dovish message/policy shift, and instead underscored the recent European strength. Gold and yen benefited as comments from President Donald Trump provoked another bout of investor caution. The surprise gain in the European PMI index, however, did little to spur the Stoxx Euro 600 Index, which retreated led by WPP Plc after the world’s largest advertising company cut its revenue forecast.

European Markit flash prints:

  • EU Markit Comp Flash PMI (Aug) 55.8 vs. Exp. 55.5 (Prey. 55.7)
  • EU Markit Services Flash PMI (Aug) 54.9 vs. Exp. 55.4 (Prey. 55.4)
  • EU Markit Manufacturing Flash PMI (Aug) 57.4 vs. Exp. 56.3 (Prey. 56.6)
  • German Markit Comp Flash PMI (Aug) 55.7 vs. Exp. 54.7 (Prey. 54.7)
  • German Markit Manufacturing Flash PMI (Aug) 59.4 vs. Exp. 57.7 (Prey. 58.1)
  • German Markit Services Flash PMI (Aug) 53.4 vs. Exp. 53.3 (Prey. 53.1)
  • French Markit Services Flash PMI (Aug) 55.5 vs. Exp. 55.8 (Prey. 56.0)
  • French Markit Manufacturing Flash PMI (Aug) 55.8 vs. Exp. 54.5 (Prey. 54.9)

Despite the strong survey data, European stocks traded lower across the board, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 0.2% in early trading. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index gained less than 0.05%, while Germany’s DAX Index fell 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, geopolitical events continue to escalate in the background: Trump also said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is beginning to respect the U.S., the latest comments that suggest his administration is moving closer to seeking talks over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal. But the U.S. tightened its financial restrictions on North Korea, slapping sanctions on Chinese and Russian entities it accused of assisting Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

In rates, Italian BTPs sell off heavily for a second day, continution of carry trade unwinds and auction setups; USTs lower with bunds following PMI data and German supply

Economic data include MBA mortgage applications, PMIs and new home sales. RBC, Lowe’s, HP and Eaton Vance are among companies reporting earnings.

Bulletin Headline Summary from RanSquawk

  • President Trump says he will probably terminate NAFTA at some point and happy to shut government to build the wall
  • EUR supported by positive PMI data. Draghi's speech refrains from mentioning current monetary policy
  • Looking ahead, highlights include US PMIs, DoEs, and Fed's Kaplan

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 2,447.2
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.3% to 374.84
  • German 10Y yield rose 1.2 bps to 0.412%
  • Euro up 0.2% to $1.1783
  • Italian 10Y yield rose 6.7 bps to 1.809%
  • Spanish 10Y yield rose 2.6 bps to 1.598%
  • MSCI Asia up 0.07% to 159.74
  • MSCI Asia ex Japan down 0.07% to 527.31
  • Nikkei up 0.3% to 19,434.64
  • Topix up 0.3% to 1,600.05
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.9% to 27,401.67
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.08% to 3,287.71
  • Sensex up 0.5% to 31,432.36
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 5,737.16
  • Kospi up 0.05% to 2,366.40
  • Brent futures down 0.5% to $51.63/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.08% to $1,286.14
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.1% to 93.41

Top Overnight News

  • Trump Threatens Government Shutdown Over Border Wall Funding
  • German economic growth is set to exceed 2% this year for the first time since 2011, a report from IHS Markit shows
  • Mario Draghi said that while central bank policy over the last decade has strengthened the global economy, it is important to be open minded in preparing for new challenges
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the caricature of her party as obsessed with debt, while her main election challenger attacked her as too accommodating toward Trump
  • Paris or Frankfurt? BofA Executives Debate Trading Hub Location
  • Pay MiFID Research Costs Yourselves, Wealth Managers Tell Funds
  • New Mountain Is Said to Hire Financial Advisers for Sale of IRI
  • WPP Shares Slump as Ad Giant Cuts Forecast on Waning Spending
  • Clarion Call for Metal Bulls as Citigroup Hails China Reform
  • Steinhoff Plans IPO of Africa Retail Assets by End of September
  • Mueller Uses Classic Prosecution Playbook Despite Trump Warnings

Asian equity markets traded mixed as the region somewhat failed to sustain the impetus from Wall St, where the Nasdaq led the surge after rebounding from a 3-day losing streak. ASX 200 (-0.23%) and Nikkei 225 (+0.26%) were both initially higher with outperformance in the Japanese bourse due to early JPY weakness. However, majority of gains were later pared amid comments from President Trump regarding shutting down the government to build the wall, while ASX 200 slipped into the red as losses in Healthscope and IAG post-earnings dampened healthcare and financials. Shanghai Comp. (-0.08%) traded choppy despite a firmer liquidity injection by the PBoC of CNY 180bln via reverse repos, as this still amounted to a daily net drain once maturing repos were taken into account, while Hang Seng remained closed due to Typhoon Hato.

Top Asian News

  • Shanghai Stocks Edge Lower While Typhoon Hato Shutters Hong Kong
  • Saudi Wealth Fund Is Said to Hire Head of $111 Billion Portfolio
  • Citigroup Sees ‘Significant’ Inflows Into China Bond Market
  • Bank of Thailand Gets Baht Help From First Trade Gap Since 2015
  • Unicom to Pump as Much as $11.3 Billion Into Hong Kong Unit
  • Jokowi’s Dream GDP Target Seen Out of Reach by Finance Ministry
  • China’s VIPKid Raises $200 Million From Tencent, Sequoia China
  • BOT Unlikely to Introduce New Measures to Curb Baht Gains: Citi
  • Mongolia, Anyone? Junkiest Sovereign Debt Pays Less Than 6%
  • Japan Shares Gains Capped by Trump’s Nafta, Wall-Funding Remarks

On a broad basis EU Bourses are trade with little in the way of firm direction, (Eurostoxx50 flat) following President Trump's stormy speech in which he stated he would shut down Government in order to build a wall in-between USA and Mexico, while also commenting he could get rid of NAFTA. In stock specific news WPP shares are on course for its worst trading session in 19 years, falling 10% after the company cut its year outlook. Bund yield ticking higher this morning following the aforementioned better than expected German PMI readings, while slight outperformance has been seen in the short run end of the curve. Peripheral debt continues to underperform its German counterpart with Italian spreads wider by 3.9 bps. This morning has also seen the absorption of UK and GE supply which was relatively well received.

Top European News

  • Draghi Says Central Banks Must Be Open-Minded to Meet Challenges
  • Surviving Oil Crash, Norway’s PM Builds Hope for Second Term
  • Euro-Area Factories Feed Best Growth Spell for Economy in Years
  • London Home Prices to Remain Stalled for Years, Economists Say
  • German Economy Set to Break Through 2% Growth Hurdle in 2017
  • French Manufacturing Propels Economic Growth as Services Slow
  • Pound Drops to Near Two-Month Low as U.K. Softens Brexit Stance
  • Euro Reverses Drop on PMIs as Draghi Doesn’t Express FX Concern
  • Macron Gets Down to Business in EU Tour to Curb Cheap Labor
  • Merkel Rebuts Image of Debt-Obsessed Germany in Campaign Pitch

In currenciues, there were no fireworks from Draghi at the Lindau meeting as the President does not address future policy or economic outlook in his speech. EUR edging higher this morning amid firm PMI readings from the Eurozone's two largest economies, Germany and France. GBP slightly lower today, although much of the focus is on the GBP TWI, which is now at a fresh 2017 low at 74.90. Subsequently, suggesting that the outlook for import prices could be back on the rise. Today will set to soften its stance today on new legal laws, requesting to only end 'direct jurisdiction' of the ECJ after Brexit. NZD is the worst performer, slipping by 0.8% after the NZ governments pre-election fiscal update, in which they cut their GDP forecast, while cross related buying seen through AUD/NZD had also kept NZD pressured as the cross breached 1.09. MXN notably softer this morning following comments from President Trump who stated that the US would probably scrap NAFTA at some point (Mexico are to hold 2nd round of talks in September). Additionally, Trump also promised a government shutdown in order to build Mexico border wall, subsequently pushing USD/MXN higher by 0.5%.

In commodities, WTI & Brent crude futures are marginally lower this mornings, despite the headline drawdown in the API Crude report, however there had been a sizeable build in Gasoline and Distillate inventories. Gold prices tracking higher by around 0.1% given the slight softness observed in equity markets.

Looking at the day ahead, the Markit PMIs on manufacturing, services and composite are out for Eurozone, Germany and France, with stronger mfg numbers offset by weaker service data. In the US, there is the MBA mortgage applications and new home sales data (0% mom expected) for July. Onto other events, Draghi will speak at Lindau (Germany), potentially providing an update on the QE. The Fed’s Kaplan will also speak.

US Event Calendar

  • 7am: MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 0.1%
  • 9:45am: Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 53.5, prior 53.3; Services PMI, est. 55, prior 54.7; Composite PMI, prior 54.6
  • 10am: New Home Sales, est. 610,000, prior 610,000; Sales MoM, est. 0.0%, prior 0.8%

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap:

Welcome to Jackson Hole Eve. As we said earlier this week, expectations have been dialled down a bit through August as to how hawkish central banks can afford to be at this juncture. Yes the Fed may hike in December and yes the ECB may announce a further taper for 2018 in October but recent events (softer inflation, softer market sentiment and the strong Euro for the ECB) may mean that now might not be the time they choose to guide markets towards such an outcome. On balance I think the risks are more skewed towards higher yields post the symposium as an increasing amount of investors have relaxed over the likely central bank message. We'll see. Before we get to the main event, today sees the important flash PMI numbers and Mr Draghi will be the keynote speaker at the Lindau symposium in Germany at 9:25am CET. He is  expected to speak about the "interaction between research and monetary policy decision making". All before checking in to his transatlantic flight to the US.

Ahead of Mr Draghi's double bill, the flash PMIs today in the Euro area and for Germany and France will make interesting reading. Growth has been very robust on these measures but there has been some signs over the last couple of months that we've peaked out for now. For example, focusing on the composite index, current expectations are running a bit lower than their recent peak, with Germany at 54.7 (vs. 57.3 recent peak), the Eurozone (55.5 vs 56.8) and in France (55.4 vs 57.6). The strong Euro of late might cement that trend and it was interesting that yesterday's German ZEW survey, whilst strong in terms of current economic conditions (best reading since Jan 2008), saw expectations falling to 10, which is the lowest level since October.

This morning in Asia, Japan’s preliminary Nikkei manufacturing PMI for August was released at 52.8 (vs. 52.1 previous). After initially following the risk on from yesterday, bourses in the region are slipping after Mr Trump has been discussing ending NAFTA and also shutting down the government if he can't get funding for his Mexican border wall. Another dimension to think about as we get closer to the budget ceiling stand off over the next couple of months. So markets are off their highs for the session but have still broadly followed the positive lead from US, with the Nikkei (+0.33%), Kospi (flat), but the ASX 200 dipped 0.25% while the Hang Seng was closed for the morning due to a typhoon.

US equity markets had a stronger day as it was a good day in terms of political newsflow with regards to Mr Trump gaining momentum on his tax reform agenda. The Politico reporting that Trump's top aides and congressional lawmakers have found common ground on some of the ways to pay for personal and corporate tax cuts. Some of the funding options touted include: capping mortgage interest deduction for home owners, scrapping state and local tax deductions, eliminate businesses' ability to deduct interest while allowing the phase-in of full expensing for small businesses. The corporate tax rate is expected to fall to 22%-25%, but unlikely to be less than 20%.

On the back of this, US equities strengthened, albeit on light volume. The S&P was up +0.99%, the Dow up +0.90% and the Nasdaq increased +1.36%. Within the S&P, only the real estate sector was in the red. Notable gains elsewhere included: IT (+1.45%), materials (+1.20%) and health care (+1.17%). European markets also increased, with the Stoxx 600 up 0.83% and all sectors increased. Elsewhere, the Dax (+1.35%), FTSE 100 and CAC (both up c0.9%) were higher, but Italy’s FTSE MIB dipped 0.11%. The VIX fell 14% to 11.5. Over in the bond markets, yields modestly increased in the US and Europe.

The UST 10Y yields were up 3bps (2Y: +2bps; 10Y: +3bps), while bunds were flattish (2Y: -0.4bp; 10Y: unch) and Gilts (2Y: -1bp; 10Y: +1.5bps) and French OATs (2Y: -0.5bp; 10Y: +0.5bp) up slightly at the longer end of the curve. The Italian BTPs had more action, with the curve sharply steeper (2Y: +2bps; 10Y: +7bps). A potential catalyst may have been reports that former PM Berlusconi who leads the centre-right Forza Italia party, has indicated his support for the introduction of a parallel currency in Italy. The idea itself is not new, but does highlight concerns about broader anti-euro sentiment in Italy, as the country heads into elections next year.

Turning to currencies, the US dollar index strengthened 0.5% overnight. Conversely, the Euro/USD and Sterling/USD fell 0.5% and 0.6% respectively, while the Euro/Sterling was little changed. In commodities, WTI Oil has pared gains this morning (-0.4%), after API reported US crude stockpiles fell last week, but increasing gasoline supplies offset this development. Elsewhere, the joint OPEC and non-OPEC committee will meet again in late September to review production curbs. Iron ore dipped 0.4% after a c9% rise over the prior three days. Precious metals were slightly down (Gold -0.5%, Silver -0.1%), while other metals have also softened this morning with copper (-0.1%), aluminium (-0.6%) and zinc (-1.2%).

Away from the markets, San Francisco Fed President Williams said there’s no sign of recession near term and that in regards to the Fed’s plan to unwind its balance sheet, he said “we’re trying to make it boring”.

Elsewhere, DB’s Winkler and Harvey have written on the looming US debt ceiling debate. They argue that even if a technical default is highly unlikely, the issue is likely to become an increasing focus for markets and so they examine potential  tail risks for the US dollar. On the fiscal side, the main risk concerns are any fiscal conditionality attached to a debt ceiling increase. The experiences of 2011 and 2013 show that debt ceiling debates have the potential to become important fiscal turning points. On the monetary policy side, it would likely be too early for the Fed to take into account developments in Washington at their 20 September meeting.

Before we take a look at today’s calendar, we wrap up with other data releases from yesterday. In the US, the Richmond Fed manufacturing index was steady mom but higher than expected at 14 (vs. 10), suggesting a manufacturing ISM reading in the 55-60 range. The FHFA house price index for June was slightly lower at 0.1% (vs. 0.5% expected), lowering the through-year growth to 6.5% yoy. In Germany, the ZEW expectations index was lower than expected at 10 (vs. 15.0), partly impacted by concerns that the rising Euro will weigh on the economy as well as the widening diesel car scandal. Over in the UK, the CBI’s  Industrial Trends survey again painted a positive picture, with the output expectations and orders indices both edging higher and thus remaining at historically elevated levels. Elsewhere, the July borrowing data was lower than expected, with public sector net borrowing at -0.8bn (vs. 0.3bn expected) and private sector net borrowing for July at -0.2bn (vs. 1.0bn expected).

Looking at the day ahead, the Markit PMIs on manufacturing, services and composite will be out for the US (53.4 expected for manufacturing and 54.9 for services), Eurozone, Germany and France. The Eurozone’s advance consumer confidence for August will also be out. Over in the US, there is the MBA mortgage applications and new home sales data (0% mom expected) for July. Onto other events, Draghi will speak at Lindau (Germany), potentially providing an update on the QE. Over in the US, the Fed’s Kaplan will also speak.